Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Old News
You could be forgiven for thinking that yesterday's New York Post cover story was a blockbuster. (And not just because the paper uses the same gargantuan font whether the story is 9/11 or embezzlement of No. 2 pencils in a Brooklyn high school.) The central claim, that Saddam's army had chemical weapons "that could be launched against coalition forces within 45 minutes," is not new. In fact, it's the same contention made by Tony Blair back in the fall of 2002.

The new development? MI6's source has now been named. Great. Unfortunately, the Post's editors are doing to this "news" what Blair's press team did to it a year ago -- they're sexing it up to justify an unjustifiable invasion. The fact that we now know the name of MI6's source -- he's a former Iraqi lieutenant colenal named al-Dabbagh -- is beside the point.

What's at issue was and is the actual content of his assertion. And that content, as has been widely reported, most recently by John Cassidy in last week's New Yorker, is this: Saddam did indeed have chemical weapons ready to be used within 45 minutes.

But, according to the very intelligence now being trumpeted by supporters of the war, he did not have the capability to use those weapons regionally. And it was that capability that Blair and Bush used as a pillar in their case for invasion. The intelligence community knew back in 2002 that the range of those weapons was very limited, and everyone who cares to know knows now.

The only thing new here is a new low. A new low in the sad, belated quest to make Bush's justification for war ring true.
-- NY Post

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?